As part of the 70th anniversary celebration of Topps baseball cards, we asked fans (as well as our staff) to submit their all-time favorite baseball cards and we sorted them by team. We will be revealing proposals regularly throughout the season, ranging from the famous to the weird, and everything in between.
Jeter retired at the end of the ’14 season and Topps gave the legendary Yankees shortstop a big hello, making him the No. 1 in its core set ’15.
And Topps didn’t even pick a random snapshot of his latest season. The card, which was sent by Austin from Fortuna, California, features the classic image of Jeter leaping into the air with his arms raised in celebration after his iconic exit success in his final match at Yankee Stadium. – Thomas Harrigan
Bobby Murcer and Stan Bahnsen, 1967 Topps
“I arrived in New York at the age of 9 from Ireland. I didn’t know anything about baseball, but I was mesmerized by the cards my schoolmates played on the street during their lunch break. I quickly became a collector and although I returned to Ireland, I am still collecting 54 years later. “
Wow. This is a really good story from Jonathan W. of Dublin, who sent in this gem for our survey. His childhood hero was Bobby Murcer, who is described as one of two Yankees rookies on this 1967 Topps card.
Murcer was an All-Star five times, with all five selections coming in the best stretch of his career, from 1971 to 1975. In that time frame, the winger hit .299 / .374 / .469 with 101 homers. for New York.
On the card next to Murcer is Stan Bahnsen, the 1968 American League Rookie of the Year who recorded an ERA of 2.05 in 37 appearances (34 as a starter) in ’68 for the Yanks. The right-hander went on to enjoy a 16-year MLB career and finished with a career of 3.60 ERA over 2,529 innings. – Manny Randhawa
Gerrit Cole, 2020 Topps Heritage
Topps Heritage papers are always fantastic and this 2020 Gerrit Cole edition is no exception.
The dominant right-hander looks out of the set position, wearing pinstripe for the first time in his career, against the backdrop of a baseball field on a fine day.
“Yankees – Gerrit Cole – Pitcher” reads the top of the card, reminding us that it was Cole’s first season in New York. At the time of this card’s printing, Cole was the $ 324 million ace just minted by the Yankees. He has launched like this so far.
With the sixth overall pick in the ’92 MLB Draft, the Yankees chose a shortstop named Derek Jeter from Kalamazoo (Mich.) Central High School.
Long before wearing the pinstripe at Yankee Stadium and becoming a baseball legend, Jeter made his debut with Topps on the set of ’93. Appearing in front of a generic illustration of a baseball field, the future Hall of Famer is depicted in mid-shot. The header identifies it as a “Draft Pick 1992”.
The card was submitted by multiple fans, including Dhilan Amin and Robert Gates.
“I love this card because Jeter has always been my favorite player,” wrote Amin. “I’m only 15, so I didn’t see him play when he was younger… but I still grew up watching an amazing player with incredible skills and incredible leadership. He taught me about hard work, dedication and respect through his talents on the pitch and his stories in his books. It was a perfect model for a kid learning the game. He molded me into the Yankees fan I am today, especially as I got to watch his highlights before my birth, which introduced me to the old Yankees teams. It was one of my first cards and it’s almost like a piece of my love of baseball. “
“My favorite card was given to me by my dad,” Gates wrote. “Baseball was the one passion we both shared. We both read Baseball America, and when I was a kid we worked in the garden listening to the Yankees show. In 1991 we started a fantasy league called the Gatesfruit League. Even though my father died in 2003, the championship has still been going strong for 30 years; it’s my version of the virtual sandlot. ” – Thomas Harrigan
Mickey Mouse and Yogi Berra, 1957 Topps Top
You can’t go wrong with a baseball card that features two of the most celebrated players in the history of the game – and teammates, no less.
This is what we have on this gorgeous 1957 Topps card from Mantle and Berra. Both are in the classic “kneeling” pose with a club on their shoulders. They are in the Yankees’ home pinstripes and you can tell they were on the Yankee Stadium bench when this photo was taken.
Together, Berra (1954-55) and Mantle (1956-57) won four consecutive American League MVP awards and seven World Series titles as Yanks teammates.
The only sad part here is that there is only one autograph. Of course, it’s better than nothing – is there a yogi-ism for that? – Manny Randhawa
Best Yankees Facial Hair Card: Thurman Munson, 1975 Topps
The Yankees may be known for having their players clean-shaven, a policy that began in 1973, but the policy didn’t completely ban the mustache. The late Thurman Munson sported perhaps one of the club’s most iconic mustaches in his 1975 photo of Topps. The combination of the Fu Manchu mustache and sideburns perfectly encapsulates a lost era in baseball history where it seemed every player was ready to be an extra in a Bee Gees music video.
While it appears Munson was attacking him on man, aka George Steinbrenner, Munson was actually made captain of the Bronx Bombers in 1976, the first Yankees captain since Lou Gehrig. As captain, he led the Yanks to two World Series wins in 1977 and 1978.
In 11 seasons in New York, Munson has put together a stellar career, winning the 1976 American League MVP Award, the 1971 AL Rookie of the Year Award, three gold gloves and making seven All-Star appearances. Game. Munson sadly died in 1979 following a plane crash. His number, 15, was withdrawn from the team shortly thereafter.
To this day, the Yankees have kept their beard policy intact. Many iconic mustachioed members have passed through New York, from Dave Winfield and Don Mattingly to Brett Gardner and Brendan Ryan, but none of them came close to replicating Munson’s iconic “mustache”.
John Elway, 1998 Pinnacle
Yep, that’s Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway in a Yankees uniform. And no, Elway wasn’t a guest at Yankees Spring Training at Russell Wilson a few years ago.
Elway played a Minor League season for the Oneonta Yankees in ’82, the year before being chosen as the first overall in the NFL Draft by the Baltimore Colts. Elway didn’t want to play for the Colts, so he used his baseball career as leverage to force a trade with the Broncos.
Elway’s brief stint with the Yankees was depicted on this 1998 Pinnacle card, which was presented by Dudley Cable of Berkeley Springs, W.Va. – Thomas Harrigan
Mickey Mouse Cloak, 1951 Bowman
Oh, what could have been. Mantle will forever be known as one of the greatest players of all time, but if he had been in good health all his career, he could have ended up being the greatest player of all time.
This 1951 Bowman gem gives us the opportunity to reflect on this, but also to see an image of Mantle before he hurt his knees and experienced a number of other ailments that plagued him for the rest of his career. Somehow, despite all the injuries, he pitched 536 home runs, won the 1956 Triple Crown, three American League MVP Awards, seven World Series rings and was one of the best hitters in the history of the game from both sides of the pot.
This card, which is the only Mantle rookie card recognized, was presented by Rick S. of Naples, Florida who noted it was his first Mantle card. This suggests that he had or has more than one, which is great, but also that his first was a Mantle rookie card. We know how it turned out for Mantle, but it’s special to have a card of the year where he was completely healthy and could not only hit a 500-foot home run but also routinely hit a ball on the ground per second.
There are many myths and legends surrounding Mantle’s career, but this card takes us back to where it all began. The 1951 Bowman Mantle is overshadowed by the famous 1952 Topps Mantle, but it is still beautiful with its artistic flair, which gives it more depth than a photograph and captures the mystique of the Mantle as it was seen by countless young people in the 1950s. – Manny Randhawa
Aaron Judge, 2018 Topps Series 1
All on the rise for this card. Judge has become the face of Topps’ 2018 Series 1 baseball card set, and everything about Card # 1 looks great.
Start with the photo. It is surprising. The judge stands in the batter’s box, maintaining his pose after a swing. He’s gazing into the distance, no doubt admiring a monstrous home run he just crushed.
Then there’s the card design, from the shimmering, classic Yankees logo on the bottom left to the way the Judge nameplate peels off the right edge of the card in a swirl of computerized pixels.
And of course, since this card was made after Judge’s monstrous 52 home run rookie season in 2017, there’s the Topps All-Star Rookie trophy on the bottom right and Future Stars lettering in gold on top, with the same pixel trails as the judge’s name.
Iconic Yankees Card: Don Mattingly, 1984 Topps
The 1980s were a golden age for baseball card collecting and Mattingly was one of the best and most popular players of the decade, so it’s no surprise that first baseman rookie cards were some of the most coveted in the industry in that period.
Mike of St. Louis has an affinity with Mattingly’s 1984 Topps paper.
“Like many Yankees fans my age, Mattingly was my childhood hero,” he wrote. “In the Little League, I wore sweat bands just like he did in the picture on this card.”
The 1984 Topps design is easily distinguishable, with team nicknames rendered in vertical block typeface and two images: an action shot and a smaller headshot in front of a brightly colored background.
Mattingly’s 1984 Topps card shows first baseman on defense, dressed in Yankee pinstripes and ready to field his position. Interestingly, Mattingly is clean-shaven in his action shot, but has a mustache in his headshot inserted.
A 4 is visible on Mattingly’s back. While he wore the number 23 for much of his career, Mattingly sported the number 46 in his first three seasons. Mattingly is also referred to as outer and first base on the card.
Mattingly actually debuted in 1982 and lost his rookie suitability in 83, but wasn’t included in the baseball card sets until 84. That season proved to be the big first base breakout, as he won the American League batting title with an average of .343 and had 23 homers, 44 doubles and 110 RBI in 153 games. The following year, Mattingly was named AL MVP.
From 1984-89, Mattingly hit .327 with 160 homers, 257 doubles, 684 RBI and .902 OPS and won five Gold Glove Awards. Mattingly was hampered by subsequent injuries, but in his prime, few players were better. – Thomas Harrigan